Vocus Acquires Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Breaking: PR software company Vocus (NASDAQ: VOCS), has acquired Help A Reporter Out (HARO), a service which matches up journalists with sources.

As part of the deal, which was just announced at Vocus’ user conference in Washington, D.C., HARO founder Peter Shankman [pictured] will join Vocus as a vice president.

“I’ve been talking with Vocus now for probably five months,” said Shankman in a phone interview with PRNewser. “They are definitely HARO’s largest advertiser by far. When [someone’s] your largest advertiser, you get to talking,” he said.

PRNewser had heard of rumors of a HARO sale since November 2008. When asked about selling the company then, Shankman said, “As of now, I have no plans to sell HARO. Things can always change in the future, but at this time, I’m not talking to anyone about a sale, no one has approached me recently about buying HARO.”

HARO will remain free and users can expect to see no significant changes to the service. It will continue to publish emails three times a day to its subscribers. “I will continue to run HARO,” said Shankman. The service boasts a user base of nearly 30,000 reporters and bloggers and more than 100,000 small businesses and public relations professionals.

“We’re looking at the ability to integrate HARO into other offerings,” said Frank Strong, director of public relations for Vocus. For example, with the company’s media monitoring offering, Vocus could send HARO media queries to users that relate to the keywords they are tracking.

“As a free service, HARO is a perfect on-ramp to the Vocus suite for new customers and complements our existing product portfolio,” said Rick Rudman, president and CEO of Vocus.

Shankman said the deal also allows HARO to “grow to the next level.” In October 2009, Shankman announced at mediabistro.com’s UGCX conference that he would begin to separate the email list by industry, so those that only wanted queries for technology opportunities, for example, would only receive those queries.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however HARO’s ad revenues are in the ballpark of $1 million per year. Shankman said the company received other offers but that Vocus was the best fit. Vocus said the acquisition is “not expected to have a material impact” on the company’s financial results for Q2 and full year 2010.

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